British producer, singer, rapper, and political activist M.I.A. has just released the music video to her latest single, “Born Free”. The new song is a departure from M.I.A.’s dance classics that we’ve come to know and love (Bamboo Banga, Boyz, Paper Planes, and Amazon come to mind). As soon as I heard “Born Free,” I thought that the track sounded more like a punk-rock song with its jarring guitar riffs and muffled vocals. After a little digging, I realized that the song samples “Ghost Rider“ by the 70’s synthpunk duo Suicide. Talk about obscure.
Anyway, the content of the video itself is rather disturbing; US police round up all the red-headed kids in the city and cart them off into the desert to be killed. One part of the video depicts a young kid getting shot in the head at point blank range. Later, we see a bomb explode and kill yet another kid. It’s apparent that this video is a metaphor for what’s currently happening between the Palestinians and the Israeli Defense Forces. Most Americans view the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis in the Middle East with apathy. But, when you substitute an unknown flag for an American flag, and dark-skinned people with light-skinned people, it becomes much more jaw-dropping. M.I.A. definitely has a controversial video on her hands, and that’s exactly what she wanted.